KLM suspends ticket sales for Amsterdam Schiphol flights over airport chaos

Airports have suffered long queues and flight cancellations due to a lack of staff

Travellers queue at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, where staff shortages have led to passengers missing flights. AFP
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Chaos at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has reached such high levels that Dutch airline KLM on Thursday said it would largely suspend sales of tickets for all departing flights until Monday.

The airport is grappling with long queues, due to a shortage of security staff.

Lines at Schiphol, Europe's third-busiest airport, have often stretched on to the streets in recent weeks, forcing travellers to wait for hours to clear security checks and causing many to miss their flights.

Last month, airport management asked airlines to cancel flights for a weekend, in a bid to avoid the chaos of previous weekends.

The scenes have been replicated in the UK, where several airports and airlines have been hit by staff shortages, causing long queues and cancellations.

“KLM is putting a brake on ticket sales for flights leaving up until and including Sunday because Schiphol can't get its security problems fixed”, KLM spokeswoman Gerrie Brand said.

KLM has suspended flights out of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. AFP

Ms Brand said the cap on ticket sales was needed to accommodate those who had missed their flights due to the chaos.

The Dutch arm of airline group Air France-KLM said it would also offer customers with tickets for flights leaving in the next three days the opportunity to change their flight plans.

Schiphol on Thursday said it had made plans to recruit more security staff before the summer holidays, while it would also work with airlines to guarantee better planning of flights during the busiest weeks.

The airport said it was also in talks with unions about higher wages for security personnel.

The Netherlands' largest trade union FNV — which represents most unionised staff at Schiphol — on Tuesday threatened “large-scale” labour action next week.

“Something has to change, we can't continue like this,” FNV spokesman Joost van Doesburg said.

“Passengers and workers are literally falling over from fatigue.

“If we don't have an agreement, we will start with labour action on June 1, including work stoppages.”

Updated: May 27, 2022, 9:47 AM